This brooding and banal self-portrait is a continuation of the artist's carefully crafted mundane scenes that feature everyday objects from life. Each composition evokes the fleeting moments that contextualize the routine of our days—forgotten in-between moments that reveal both ourselves and the dignity of life. The foreshortened perspective of the supine body in this work is a familiar posture that results from using a phone in bed. This universal activity has achieved particular prominence during quarantine. The bottom-heavy composition inspired the title, suggesting the burden, anxiety or worry in achieving one’s potential. As this work was being finished, the California painter Wayne Thiebaud passed away. There are small nods to Thiebaud in this work, such as the bright hues of color that pop on the outline of shaded areas.
As in all of Tharp's figurative work, the primary aim of this composition is to explore various traditions of painting and sculpture by combing them with the artist's own style—emerging with something altogether new. Tharp's process is both instinctual and strategic; however, there is never one, singular organizing principle at work in his compositions. Each painting involves fumbling around in the dark while simultaneously maintaining the projection of the artist's ultimate intentions.
Storm Tharp’s paintings are created instinctually, eschewing any single organizing principle. The artist’s figurative works explore the combination of various painting and sculptural traditions with his own strategies—a process always driven by the artist’s beliefs and narrative sensibility. For Tharp, portraits can evoke an entire life story when the colors on the picture plane serve as an emotional code for unraveling that life story.
Storm Tharp was born in Salem, Oregon. The artist received a BFA from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1992. Tharp also studied at the Roberto Einaudi Architecture Program at the Palazzo Massimo in Rome, Italy in 1991.
Solo exhibitions of Tharp’s work have taken place at: Cornell University’s The Herbert F. Johnson Museum and Milstein Hall in Ithaca, New York; the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, Oregon; Galerie Bertrand in Geneva, Switzerland; PDX Contemporary Art in Portland, Oregon; and Feldbuschweisner in Berlin, Germany; among others.
Group exhibitions that have shown Tharp’s work include: Up Close & Personal at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington; Doomtown at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Portland, Oregon; American Genre: Contemporary Painting, curated by Michelle Grabner at ICA at MECA in Portland, Maine; and the Whitney Biennial 2010, curated by Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
Tharp’s work is held in numerous public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City; Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio; Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY; and Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
This painting evokes the fleeting moments that contextualize the routine of our days—forgotten in-between moments that reveal both ourselves and the dignity of life. The foreshortened perspective of the supine body in this work is a familiar posture that results from using a phone in bed.More